31.10.13

L'Oreal Collection Privee: Cheryl Cole's Perfect Nude Lipstick

Chery Cole has been an ambasador for L'Oreal Paris for a number of years now, putting her name and face to everything from shampoo to mascara. This season she's put her stamp of approval (and signature) on her very own nude lipstick, as part of the L'Oreal Collection Privee - which features other ambassadors favourite nudes too. Chery's nude is a very subtle and wearable pink-brown, with just a hint of shimmer to subtly catch the light. Although it's a pretty generic shade, the formula is light and contains a hint of gloss so it's super comfortable to wear; it doesn't dry the lip and can be re-applied frequently without dragging or caking. This shade has been specifically formulated for brunettes with pale complexions, making it the perfect choice for me. I love how understated this is, yet it adds an extra punch to my daily makeup look without the need for precise application. I've yet to try the other nude shades from the collection, but this one is definitely going to become a firm favourite of mine. It's not ground-breaking, but with Cheryl's name to it I've no doubt it'll be flying off the shelves and into handbags across the UK.

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Find Your Perfect Red With Headmasters This Autumn

Red tones are always in demand as soon as the summer sun settles, but this year red hair is one of the biggest colour trends sweeping the catwalk. Antonio Beradi, Vera Wang and Oscar De la Renta all showcased red barnets during their AW13 shows, and with A-list celebrities including Jessica Chastain, Christina Hendricks and Florence Welsh championing the shade it’s definitely a colour to stay. Often percieved as difficult to wear, Headmasters are taking a fresh approach to reds this season by ensuring there's a shade to suit every skin tone. From copper to cinnamon, the bespoke shades can actually be more wearable then cool blondes and brunette hues, as the warm undertones really enhance the complexion. Siobhan Jones, Headmasters Colour Director, explains: “Reds are really pure this season with an inner energy, which makes the colour look as if it’s glowing from within. This is because they have a much stronger natural base tone which makes the hair multi-tonal, rich and vivid.” I went along to Headmasters in Mayfair to find my own Perfect Red and this was the result. But how did I get here and what are my top tips for helping your new colour last all winter long?


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30.10.13

Japonesque Launch Colour Cosmetics (Exclusively in John Lewis)

Well established for their makeup tools that are really rather good, US brand Japonesque are now expanding their expertise into colour cosmetics for the first time. Launching exclusively in John Lewis stores, the range includes two foundation textures, concealers, blusher, eyeshadow duo and quad palettes, mascara, lipstick and lipgloss. The capsule collection provides all the basics in a variety of colours, with incredible textures that have been four years in the making. The 'Velvet Touch' foundation is a staple of the range, providing a luminous yet matte lightweight finish that covers imperfections without caking, while the blush colours help bring about a healthy glow when buffed into the skin. All 14 colour combinations of eyeshadow provide a highly pigmented colour with a hint of shimmer, which looks perfect on both upper and lower lids. The texture of the gloss is thick and gloopy, but provides a rich colour result that's halfway to a glossy lipstick.


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The Human Hair Extension Trade: Where Did Your Extensions Come From?

A full head of long, shiny, flowing hair is what many of us dream of. Not only is it a sign of femininity, but also has a fairytale-like beauty and (while not all of us choose to wear our hair long) the glamorous tresses of film stars and celebrities are cooed over with jealousy. For us in the western world, a hair transformation with extensions is quick and accessible, with human hair being the most sought after for its quality. But have you ever thought about where the human hair comes from? What of the women who grew and looked after it? While I'm sure we'd love to think of glamorous women in far off countries donating their long ponytails after they opt for a short pixie cut at the hairdressers, that idea is far from the truth.


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29.10.13

Winter Beauty Remedies To Help You Through The Season

With the clocks going back on Sunday, there is no escaping the oncoming onslaught of winter. The combination of the colder weather and all the bugs and beasties flying around can take their toll on both our health and our beauty. Everything from your complexion and hair, to your nails and hands, need a little more attention - but there's no need to break the bank by buying hoards of new beauty products. Just a few simple tweaks to your diet can really help you get through the rubbish weather and into spring with ease.


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Oh, The Memories: Limited Edition Olay Beauty Fluid

If there's one product that reminds me of my mother, then it's Olay's classic pink Beauty Fluid. It was a staple on her dressing table for as long as I can remember, become a symbol of elegance and maturity for a girl no taller than her knee. I used to sneak a little bit of the pink fluid out of its container and into my hands when she wasn't looking, massaging it into my face to make myself feel like a real lady. The scent still evokes memories of my youth and instantly brings back recollections of time spent in my parents bedroom, watching my mother pamper herself and apply her makeup. The iconic Beauty Fluid still exists, and although Olay as a brand has moved on somewhat in the last twenty years, it still has its place within skincare history. It was originally launched in 1952 and was somewhat a revelation in the skincare market, with all other face creams being thick and uncomfortable to use; the lightness of the texture and scent made Olay (originally Ulay) completely different from anyone else. The formula has barely changed in the last 60 years, but for Christmas Olay have released a limited edition lace design that makes a bottle of Beauty Fluid the perfect token for anyone who remembers this from times gone by.

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28.10.13

LBQ's Top Three: Home Candles

Now the clocks have gone back it's officially the start of the winter season. With the nights being even darker than before, it's the perfect time to adorn your abode with sweet smelling and comforting candles. Although you can pick up a bowl of wax for a couple of quid that provides an adequate amount of ambiance and light, if you really want to evoke the senses and create an amazing scent to uplift or relax then you need to invest a little in some quality candles. Here are my three favourite brands that allow you to pick a scent to suit your needs...

top three home fragrance candles
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Urban Decay Black Market: 24/7 Eyeliner Pencils

Occasionally the beauty world goes a bit gaga for certain brands or products, but most of the time it baffles me why. However, when it comes to Urban Decay I'm well and truly on the bandwagon - if not leading the parade, trumpet in hand. Their products may be more expensive than your run-of-the-mill brand from Boots, but they're really worth spending a bit more on. When it comes to Christmas gift sets their offerings are second-to-none, providing amazing savings and allowing you to test products you may not have purchased as a stand-alone. The Urban Decay Black Market eye pencil set is no exception, providing six fabulous shades of their iconic 24/7 eye liners for only £26.00 (That's just over £4.00 each, which is a whopping £10.00 saving on each one!) Although the pencils are about a third shorter than their single counterparts, this provides a great introduction to a great product - especially if you're a massive fan of a dark, smokey eye.


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27.10.13

Collection: Gothic Glam Nail Varnish

With Halloween merely a few days away, it's the perfect time to channel your inner goth and perfect a slightly spooky manicure. Collection have launched 'Gothic Glam', which includes three shades of dark and mysterious colour to adorn your nails with. Each shade includes a shimmer or subtle effect which makes these more than just a normal nail colour; Dramatic, Phantom and Deadly catch the light and provide a multi-tonal result that's perfect for the scary season. Deadly is my personal favourite, as the intensity of the black polish is counteracted with the dense golden pigments to make it a striking colour. Dramatic is a deep red shade with added bronze pigments, providing a result that's comparable to a burnt orange, while Phantom is a complex purple colour that changes as you move your nail and it catches the light. Although you do need a couple of coats of each colour to really build up the result (the formula is quite thin and runny initially,) the result is a high gloss finish that covers any bumps or imperfections on the nail. The best thing about the Gothic Glam collection is that the colours are so delicious you can keep wearing them all winter long.

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NEW: Elemis Pro-Intense Lift Effect Night Cream

Night creams tend to contain high levels of active ingredients, perfect for targeting a specific skin concern, which can really get to work while you sleep. UV rays can break down some ingredients during the day, so night time is the perfect opportunity to put your skin to work. Although it’s much debated, research shows that your skin reacts differently according to your body clock – during the day your skin is busy protecting itself, whereas at night cells focus on repairing themselves from damage. This means you can put on a cream before bed, relax and let the ingredients work their magic while you slumber. Night creams should be a fundemental part of your skincare routine, regardless of age or skin issue, so I'm always on the look out for the next great product or new launch to get my pores stuck into. Elemis have recently launched their most intense and effective night cream to date, so I put Pro-Intense Lift Effect Night Cream to the test.


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26.10.13

Celebrity Hair Heroes

As a girl who once had long, lustrous locks and made the mistake of chopping them into a pixie bob at the age of 18, I suffer with a longstanding condition – hair envy. Unfortunately, it seems that no amount of treatment can resolve this. My barnet seems to have given up growing completely, languishing at the long and limp end of a bob. As a result, I live my (hairstyle) life vicariously through anyone with a gorgeous do, particularly a handful of celebrity hair heroes that I'm about to introduce to you.


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25.10.13

Vaseline: Paint The Town

Vaseline are well known for their limited edition tins and innovative variations, but with their latest launch they're pushing the boundaries even further by adding a hint of colour. 'Paint The Town' is the third limited edition pot, bringing a touch of red to lips in addition to the glossy finish and lubrication a standard pot of Vaseline provides. Although I would never recommend using Vaseline on troublesome or dry lips, (as it actually prevents the lips from absorbing moisture from the environment, causing them to become dry over time) it's great as a finishing touch. This can be used alone, or alternatively over lipsticks or stains for a stronger look, adding a hint of red to your pout. Initially I thought this would be much deeper in colour, but the packaging is quite misleading. However, the subtle tint makes this a lot easier to wear day or night and integrate into your routine. Another winner... Here's looking forward to Limited Edition #4. 

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24.10.13

COMPETITION: Don't Sweat It This Halloween With Right Guard

With Halloween around the corner, I'm pulling out the witches hat and dusting off my pumpkins in preparation for the ultimate scary movie night. There's nothing better than sitting down for a movie marathon with your mates, armed with popcorn and Haribo, ready to scare yourself witless with the curtains well and truly closed. But some films are so terrifying that they make us curl up in horror, hide behind a cushion and simply sweat with terror... I'm talking to you SAW! (The first one, obvs. The rest just got a bit rubbish and confusing.) As king of the sweat protection, Right Guard recently ran a poll to reveal the top ten scariest films that make us sweat with pure fear - and the results are hardly surprising. The top films to make you quiver in your boots include The Exorcist, The Shining, Carrie, The Ring, The Grudge and Silence of the Lambs. (Anyone else thinking if you put 'The' in front of a film title it instantly becomes ten times scarier?)


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23.10.13

The Organic Pharmacy: Carrot Butter Cleansing Balm

Once you've used a balm cleanser to remove makeup and impurities at the end of the day, it's hard to use anything else. The Organic Pharmacy's Carrot Butter Cleanser is a favourite with celebrities and bloggers alike for a reason. Infused with antioxidant Carrot and Calendula, as well as decongesting Rosemary and soothing Lavender, it provides a really deep but gentle cleanse that removes eye makeup, as well as dirt and pollution. Used with a flannel or muslin cloth, the cleanser melts into the skin once applied and can be massaged in circular motions to start lifting away dirt and grime. As it contains shea and cocoa butter, the formula doesn't strip the skin or cause it to dry out when impurities are removed. The butter itself is a bright yellow-orange colour which, although a little off-putting, is the result of the carrot included for antioxidant purposes. I always double cleanse to make sure I've removed as much dirt and grime as possible, and this cleansing butter ensures my face is left feeling clean and my complexion is glowing. There's no stickiness or residue left on the skin, nor any tightness that can often be felt with an intensive cleanse.


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The Body Shop: White Musk Smoky Rose Eau de Toilette

If there's one scent that sums up my early teenage years then it would undoubtedly be The Body Shop's White Musk. It was the fragrance of the 90's and filled the noses of teenagers up and down the country, thanks to every product you could possibly imagine being dosed with the scent. Twenty years later and they've updated their classic by adding a smoky twist: I introduce to you White Musk Smoky Rose. Descibed as "a daring and mysterious fragrance, featuring an intoxicating blend of cruelty-free musk with notes of black smoky rose and tobacco flower," Smoky Rose is a light and unusual scent that's perfect for crisp Autumn days. Although the classic musk scent was pretty headache-inducing, this is a much fresher and more mature older sibling. The smokiness and added tobacco ensure the fragrance is quite complex, while the rose and musk notes make this universally appealing. Although I'm not usually a fan of floral notes, they're totally balanced with the other ingredients to make this a fragrance I've been reaching for on a daily basis. It does remind me of Guerlain's Le Petit Robe Noire, both visually and in its scent, so this is an absolute bargain of an alternative; you can pick one up for only a tenner!

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22.10.13

Nail Art UK: Nail Tattoo Stickers

I love nail art, I really do, but I just don't have the patience or artistic flair to complete it effectively. Thank goodness for nail salons, nail wraps and now nail tattoos... Nail Art have created these super cute nail designs that come in teeny tiny sticker format; all you have to do is pick them off the backing sheet, place over a pre-painted dry nail and cover with a topcoat. In less than two minutes you've got your very own work of art that you can pretend you created with your own fair hands. In one pack there are over 60 individual stickers, each design handily coming in a bunch of ten, so you can change your look as often as you like. I'm especially in love with the leopard print design which you can re-create on a statement nail (like I've done below) or just the tips of each finger for an 'ombre effect'. Not only does this save you time and money, but it means you can rock that on-trend look with no stress whatsoever.

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The BIG Brow Debate

Brows may be my personal beauty weakness, but they're something I always look out for in other people. It’s a well known fact that eyebrows are a vital component in framing your face, and big brows are a huge trend for A/W this year; think Cara Delevingne (obviously she couldn’t be forgotten.) It takes a certain amount of oomph to pull off the 'Cara Brow', but they're slightly easier to manage if the colour is closer to your hair shade. The question is: what brow shape should we go for and what products will help us along the way?


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21.10.13

LBQ's Top Three: Eyebrow Tools

The most important aspect of your face isn’t the smoothness of your skin, the plumpness of your lips or the arch or your cheekbones – it’s the shape of your eyebrows. Your eyebrows may seem like two unnecessary hairy lines, but they can enhance your appearance, frame your face and instantly make you seem more youthful. Bad eyebrows can be as detrimental as a bright orange tan or bunions, so it's essential to find the right tools to help you on your way. Eyebrow pencils can often be scratchy and the colour too light to work with effectively, but here are my top three products that have really stood the test day after day.

top three eyebrow products
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NEW from Crown Professional Makeup: Blending Brushes

Makeup brushes used to be a foreign concept to me. I managed to get by for years relying on cheap and cheerful eyeshadow brushes and little else, until I started to use professional tools and realised the difference they can make to application. Crown Brush are one of my favourite accessories brands as their brushes are super soft and amazing quality, providing really easy application with tools that are light to hold and simple to use effectively. The bristles are dense and compact, making it easy to grab product and use the brush to work it into the skin, while the angles and shapes really work well with the contours of your face. These are the tools of the trade too, supplying brushes to makeup artists across the world who really need their kit to perform; with all these positive points of the brand making it sound too good to be true, it's even more surprising that the brushes start from around £2.99.


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20.10.13

Kerastase Couture: Finishing The Look

Creating a statement style or sleek look is all well and good, but if you've spent an hour washing, drying and preening you don't want to let yourself down at the last minute. Finishing products for hair are often overlooked, but the new 'Couture Styling' collection from Kerastase brings styling and finishing formulas to the forefront once again. Fusing together hold and natural movement, the five styling and three perfecting products offer subtle results within formulas that feel and smell great. With Kate Moss as the face of the range and 'master of hairstyles' Luigi Murenu behind the vision, it's no suprise that the range is really making a splash in the beauty world.


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19.10.13

NEW: Clinique SuperPrimers

A primer should be an essential part of your makeup routine, day and night. Not only does it help create a barrier between your skin and makeup to help products stay in place all day, but there's a new generation of primer that also offer skincare and cosmetic benefit too. The new Clinique 'Superprimers' are available in six variants, not only offering the universal benefit of a super base, but also helping to colour correct and address dullness in the skin. Although the 'universal' variant is a good starting point, my personal favourites in the range are the 'colour correcting redness' primer and the 'colour correcting dullness' primer. Both of these variants have a relatively thick texture that blends to create a velvety smooth finish; there's no sticky or greasy feeling that often goes with a primer, just a silky smooth result that creates the perfect base for makeup.


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18.10.13

Can Anyone Wear Blue Eyeshadow?

Last week we saw some behind the scenes snaps of Rita Ora whilst shooting the new Rimmel ‘Get the Look’ ad campaign.  The dramatic blue eye shadow and red lip combo got a few cruel ‘Halloween’ jibes from the press, but if anyone can pull off a strong look, Rita can. As I’m a beauty lover, you might find it hard to believe that I do not own, and have never worn a red lip.  This is not down to my dislike of the statement red lipstick, but the fact that I have never been brave enough to try it.  Rita tweeted early this month that it was her mission to get everyone in the world wearing red lipstick, so maybe it’s my time? Now the blue eye shadow is another ball game, and on my list of makeup I would never ever wear.  I know many ladies over 70, and little girls on their first school disco like a wash of cobalt blue over the lid, but does blue eye shadow really suit anyone? Feeling adventurous, and willing to try something new, I decided I would embrace Rimmel and Rita Ora’s up and coming trend. To find out, ‘Can anyone wear blue eye shadow?’


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Fruveju Detox Cleansing Juices

As a full time multi-tasker, eating well and drinking properly has never been high on my agenda. Preferring the 'abuse my body to the point it needs fixing' method, I'm frequently slave to the vitamins, supplements, detox and health drinks to get me back into shape. I've tried many different juice cleansing systems, but Fruveju is the newest one to land in the UK from founder Vanessa Valdez. She says: “Although most things in life involve tradeoffs, not so with raw, whole-food nutrition. It promotes optimum health and physical beauty.” Fruveju juices were born out of her love for raw food and great nutrition, with Vanessa believing that many juice brands claiming to be healthy actually sell products that are loaded with sugar and preservative-crazed substitutes. Working with a team of nutrition experts, Vanessa established Fruveju as a way of teaching people what she’s learned about detoxifying cleanses and how to incorporate them in a realistic, enjoyable way: whether it’s daily doses of vegetable juice or a week-long cleanse. “The aim is to allow your body to heal and detoxify by using the energy that is normally used in digestion,” she explains. “You are still supplying your body with the required nutrients but in an easily absorbed form.”


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17.10.13

Alexa Chung's 'IT': Vacuous Nonsense or Style Icon on Paper?

When I first heard Alexa Chung was writing a book my initial reaction was: "hooray, we can finally find out her style secrets and how to become successful with practically no identifiable talent." As someone who initially made her name presenting teenage telly on T4 at the weekends, her progression into one of the UK's most desirable commodoties is somewhat baffling. Now a muse to Karl Lagerfeld, the ex-girlfriend of Arctic Monkey's frontman Alex, best friend to Henry Holland and Pixie Geldof, the name sake of Mulberry's iconic bag and front row at every fashion show that matters, it seems we simply can't get enough of Miss Chung... Even though nobody is really quite sure why. Sure, she dresses quite well on occasion and makes rolling out of bed and not doing your hair seem cool, but why do we have an obsession with her? Maybe the book could help me understand.

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LBQ Brand Focus #18: Foltene

The beauty industry is a multi-billion pound money spinner, helping women to enhance their natural features, cover imperfections and create the illusion of something bigger and better than it naturally is. However, what do you do when you simply can't rely on beauty treatments to help solve the issue? Where do you turn when the problem is more fundamental and needs a slightly stronger helping hand? Foltene, founded in Italy in the 1960's, started life in a laboratory that was initially developing prescription drugs; moving into the development of innovative cosmetic products, after the discovery of Tricosaccaride (the first substance that stimulated hair growth,) Foltene became globally known as the go-to brand that helped to combat hair loss. Now they're known as the go-to brand for those wanting a healthy looking, full and shiny head of hair.


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16.10.13

Going Grey: Why Why Why? (And How?)

Apart from getting wrinkles, going grey is probably the most feared thing about getting older. Finding your first grey or white hair has become something of a societal talking point, even featuring in films and movies as an indication of when ‘it’s time to grow up.’ However, is getting a grey hair really that big of a deal?


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15.10.13

Costa Coffee Does Christmas (Hoorah!)

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Did you know there are only ten weekends until Santa pops down the chimney and delivers us a giant tin of Quality Street to scoff? Despite the fact that I'm not actually sure where the year has gone, there's one thing I get excited about when it comes to the Christmas countdown: Christmas beverages. There's nothing I love more than an Amaretto Latte, a Toffee Nut Mocha or a Cinnamon Spiced Coffee to get me in the mood for festive shopping - and this year Costa Coffee have surpassed themselves. Launching into coffee shops nationwide on November 7th, they have a menu bursting with chocolate and spiced cherry goodness that will leave you dribbling at the mere thought. Not only that, but this year you'll be able to get your festive beverage in an even more festive cup - pick from a Gingerbread Man (small), Snowman (medium,) or Santa Claus himself (large) depending upon the beverage size you choose. Now I've seen these, Starbucks can screw their red cups and Pumpkin Spiced Latte... Father Christmas cups trump everything. Fact.

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NEW Nail Rock: 3D Lego Nail Wraps

I've never been much of a fan of nail wraps. The faff involved in effectively faux-painting your nails has mostly been a waste of time for me historically, especially as I manage to mess up the application so they only last a day or so anyway. However, that all went out the window when these super cute (and quite frankly amazing) nail wraps popped through my letterbox from Nail Rock. For the first time they've gone 3D, creating a texture as well as a pattern for nails, and what better design to do it with than Lego? The ultimate kid-to-adult pastime, Lego never gets old or goes out of style. These retro nail designs come on a transparent sheet of plastic in four different sizes, each having a slightly different size of design to add to the Lego miss-match effect. Each nail wrap is coated on the reverse with an adhesive, making these really simple to apply: you just place on the base of the nail and smooth over to remove any wrinkles or bubbles, filing the excess off the end with an emery board.


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14.10.13

LBQ's Top Three: Non-Powder Blushers

Bronzers are out and blushers are in. As soon as the summer sandals get packed away the bronzer should be replaced in favour of something a little more pink. Adding a touch of rosiness to your makeup will help your complexion ooze health and provide a subtle Autumn glow, as well as radiating youth. Rosy cheeks will forever be associated with little girls, but if you use the right products you can chop five years off your perceived age. Although I'm a fan of traditional powder blushers, I believe that creams and cheek stains provide a much more subtle and natural result that's easier to wear; there's no caking and no wrinkle-enhancing, just fabulous pink cheeks to help you glow into Spring. Here are my top three personal faves...

top three liquid cream blush


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Micellar Magnificent? REN Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water

When I heard about the 3-in-1 Cleansing Water from the REN Rosa Centifolia range I was intrigued; this is described as a cleanser, make up remover and toner in one, that is suitable for use around the eyes and on even 'the most sensitive skin'. Priced at £13 for 200ml, this is definitely at the medium-to-top end for micellar solutions, which contain micelles (tiny spheres of suspended oil) that remove make up and impurities without stripping the skin. With an explosion of micellar cleansing waters on the market from both high street and high end brands, how does REN’s take on the trend fare against its competitors?


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13.10.13

Going Face-Naked for Charity: Why I'll Be Keeping My Makeup Bag Close

Although different forms of makeup can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians, in the Twentieth Century makeup gained popularity thanks to the theatre and ballet – actresses and dancers used blush and lipstick to help their features stand out on stage, their dressing rooms being filled with thick lotions and potions. With the birth of the Hollywood era, makeup took centre stage and became mainstream thanks to companies such as MaxFactor, Estee Lauder and L’Oreal being established and endorsed by famous faces. Now in the Twenty First Century, the makeup industry is a multi billion pound business that tells us we’re ‘worth it’. Makeup has always been used as a way of enhancing natural beauty, bringing the focus onto one area of the face or concealing the imperfections that make us shiver on a cold Monday morning. Makeup is also a form of self expression and a way that women (and men!) can increase their confidence: just look at the impact brands like Illamasqua have had on not only the makeup bags of millions, but how society sees and interprets 'extreme' looks. I've made a career out of makeup and love nothing more than playing around with the piles of lipstick I have within my possession. However, this year there seems to be an increasing number of campaigns, fronted by celebrities, that are encouraging us to ditch our makeup and go 'bare faced' in the name of charity... But surely there's a less patronising way to raise some cash?


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12.10.13

WHAT DO THE INGREDIENTS IN ANTI-AGEING PRODUCTS REALLY MEAN?

If you turn on the telly, open a magazine or take a wander into Boots, then you're bound to be overwhelmed by the amount of products that claim to be anti-ageing. Unless a well-known brand has gotten in a Delorean and shot off to see Marty McFly, there's no scientific formula currently in existence that can prevent ageing - if there was, we'd all look as good as Kate Moss did in the 90s. There are some ingredients, products and formulas that can ensure skin is in a great condition so that nobody can guess your age, but the term 'anti-ageing' is pure marketing madness created to shift face creams.


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11.10.13

Fountain: The Hyluronic Acid Supplement That Hydrates From Within

Known for its anti-ageing properties in skincare, thanks to its ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water, Hyaluronic Acid is a well-known and highly desired skincare wonder. Its primary function within the body is to lubricate and cushion joints, whilst also providing a natural support structure to the top layer of the skin. As we age our body naturally loses its natural Hyaluronic Acid, which leaves our joints prone to stiffness and our skin dehydrated. Fountain's newest skincare supplement offers Hyaluronic Acid in a water soluble and edible format for the first time, enabling us to ingest it like a supplement or vitamin drink. Fountain's Hyaluronic Acid supplement encourages your body to hold on to its natural moisture; the high concentration level allows it to be absorbed quickly, while the ginger extract further aids absorption to ensure it gets to where it's needed most.

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NEW: ProFinish Makeup Brushes

Having a good toolkit is just as important as having the right makeup. It's like trying to paint a wall with the most luxurious and expensive matte white, but using a tatty old paintbrush from your Grandad's garage to complete the job - it just won't look good. I'm a big advocate of cleaning your brushes regularly and investing in some really great staple tools to keep your makeup looking as flawless as possible, but if you're on a budget where do you look? ProFinish are a new brand of makeup tools that have launched into ASDA stores nationwide, claiming to offer 'expertly designed premium quality brushes' at an affordable price. No brush within the collection (including foundation, dual-fibre, eyeshadow and blending brushes) is more than £8.99, with a good selection offering multifunction and double-ends.


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10.10.13

Percy & Reed Shine and Fragrance Spray for Hair

Hair fragrance seems to be the latest beauty trend that's being picked up by everyone from Chanel to Paul & Joe. Fragrance layering has long been a more sophisticated way to wear your perfume, enabling the wearer to create unique combinations and ensure the scent lasts for as long as possible, so fragrance for the hair is simply an extension of that mantra. Although many hair perfumes look and feel like a traditional scent in a bottle, Percy & Reed's Eau My Goodness Shine and Fragrance Spray adds a touch of practically and realism with their aerosol bottle. Although it's adorned with fabulous floral designs and their usual quirky sketches, this still feels somewhat special and more than just another shine spray. Boasting a delicate scent of roses and morning dew, the extremely lightweight spray is an airy mist that will make your hair smell beautiful with very little effort. The scent is light and inoffensive, being suitable for any style or age bracket thanks to the twist on the traditional rose fragrance.


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Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick

Selfridges is fast becoming a destination for beauty enthusiasts, thanks to the volume of unique brands and exclusive products they continually have on offer. This exclusive Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick is a treat for makeup enthusiasts and lipstick lovers, as well as fashion addicts; the distinctive red packaging makes this something to treasure and take pleasure in using. According to Armani, this is the first 'CC' lipstick - providing both colour and care. The combination of high impact colour and the comforting moisturising ingredient of Shea Butter make this a product that provides the softness of a lipbalm, with the precise and bold colour of a lipstick. The texture is velvety soft, being extremely easy to apply with the precise tip, while the added Shea Butter provides a hint of gloss and shine on the lip. I love this nude shade, which is the perfect colour for day or night - it almost 'colour corrects' the lips to leave them looking seriously kissable and full of volume. Even when re-applied multiple times, the formula doesn't dry lips or leave them feeling flaky; lips remain soft, supple and bursting with colour. Although this lipstick will set you back £25.00 a pop, with a subtle texture and over 30 shades to choose from, it may just be your lips new best friend.

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8.10.13

NSpa Fragrances: Bloom, Orient & Pure

NSpa have taken the customers of ASDA by storm; providing good quality spa-inspired products at affordable prices, that make it easy to pick up something pampering with your loaf of bread. With the recent launch of three Eau de Toilettes, their ever expanding offering now includes fragrance. Bloom, Orient and Pure cover all basic levels of the perfume spectrum by providing something floral, something woody and something fresh. Bloom is a floral scent of blissful bouquets, fresh floras and pretty petals, with feminine tones of Rose, Jasmine and Tuberose. It's perfect for floral fragrance fans that just need a little pick-me-up or something to spritz on a daily basis without worrying about the cost. Orient contains the extravagance of ornate orchids, amorous ambers and sensual silks, partnered with sophisticated tones of Lily, Vanilla, Mandarin and Musk. It's extremely similar to Jean Paul Gaultier's classic scent, making it a perfect budget buy for fans of the cult perfume. Pure provides the fresh scent of beach breezes, lush lilies and aquatic auras, with sophisticated tones of Lotus Flower, White Freesia and Jasmine. Its freshness makes it great for lovers of that 'just washed' scent and cotton bed sheets.


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Nanogen: Thicker, Beautiful Hair in a Few Easy Steps?

Ever since I had my hair extensions removed a few months ago, I've been on the hunt for anything and everything that could possibly help the condition of my hair. Although there's no less of it than when I began, having a mass of hair removed from your head is a little traumatic and leaves you feeling like you want to hide away until you can find a blooming good hat. Nanogen sent me a selection of their products to help me on my way, promising that their thickening treatments could help stimulate hair growth and leave me with bouncing goodness atop my head. The products (which include a shampoo, conditioner and leave-in oil treatment) work by stimulating growth factor signals in your body; these are natural signals your body produces to maintain hair growth, which are sometimes blocked or temporarily disabled due to stress, pregnancy or medical conditions. Nanogen works by effectively mimicking these signals exactly, meaning there are no side effects or allergic reactions. The process is simple: the shampoo and conditioner replace your current routine, while the treatment serum is applied daily directly to the scalp (before bed and left overnight is what worked for me best so I could wash my hair the next day.)


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7.10.13

NEW for Autumn: Aromatherapy Associates 'Revive' Candle

With the evenings getting darker and chillier, there's nothing I like more than lighting some comforting candles and snuggling up with a blanket. Although vanilla and nutty scents can make us feel all warm inside, they do have a tendency to induce sleep and relax us a little bit too much - falling asleep before Eastenders has finished just isn't cool. Aromatherapy Associates are a great brand that has been a leading expert within aromatherapy for over 30 years; their founders have been teaching, practicing and blending therapeutic oils since the 1980's, so all their products are made with love and expertise. Known for their bath oils and pampering body treats, their luxurious candles are an extension of the line and complement the scents that already have cult-like status. The new 'Revive' candle contains a citrus blend made from the essential oils of grapefruit and petitgrain, leaving you mentally and emotionally uplifted upon breathing in the invigorating scent. Perfect for lifting you from your Autumn slump or a hard day at work, the 'Revive' candle really touches the senses thanks to the grapefruit notes that really stimulate the mind. The candle is hand-poured in the UK and made from the highest quality soy wax, with unbleached cotton wicks, making it a perfect treat for your home. The scent lingers and creates an uplifting atmosphere, ensuring that this beautifully decorated candle really is worth splashing out on this Autumn.

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NEW: Nip+Fab Winter Body Butters

If I had to choose two things that really get me going for Autumn, it would be rich warm scents to fill the senses and rich thick creams to cover the skin. The Nip+Fab Body Butters provide both with their eyecatching Winter triple set, containing three delectable scents along with their 'beauty fixes made easy' ethos. It's hard to miss the bright green and red packaging (which reminds me a lot of a candy cane), and with three 50ml body butter filled pots advertising their wintery aromas of Spiced Apple, Winter Cherry and Sugared Almond, it's hard not to imagine being snuggled up in front of a fire from just looking at the box! The names describe the powerful scents perfectly - Spiced Apple is warm like cinnamon with a strong citrus tone; Winter Cherry, my favourite of the three, is strong and sweet like a hot cherry pie; while Sugared Almond is like a robust nut butter with a hint of musk.


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6.10.13

The Truth About Lip Balms

The UK lip market is currently worth about £200 million every year, with the lip balm market making up a huge proportion of its growth. It seems that, as a nation, we’re all a little addicted to using lip balms. I for one always have at least one lip balm in my bag, if not four or five, as I hate the feeling of dry and tight lips. There are so many brands and products available now that lip balms become second nature, but are they actually causing more problems than they’re solving?

lip balm
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5.10.13

Using Makeup as a Mood Booster

Many studies have confirmed the simple act of applying make-up can boost your self-esteem, your confidence and leave you with a greater sense of well-being. Whenever I feel tired or lethargic a quick swipe of lipstick can act as an instant mood booster; I also find a bold, bright nail or fresh rosy cheek can have a similar affect. The days are drawing in and it’s not at all uncommon to feel low this time of year, so here are my quick cheats for using make-up as a mood booster this impending Autumn.
makup mood booster
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4.10.13

Why Do I Need to Use a Face Cream?

A common question I get asked by beauty enthusiasts and blog readers, is ‘why do I need to use a face cream if my skin is oily?’ There are so many reasons why a face cream will aid your skin’s health, regardless of your skin type or skin concerns. It’s easy to see (even from a distance) when people don’t regularly use a face cream, as their skin becomes not only dry, but pigmented and more prone to wrinkles.


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Melvita Bouquet Floral: Cleansing Waters Re-Designed

I love a bit of Melvita skincare. In fact it was the first ever brand I did a 'focus' on, because there's such a great story to tell behind the magical bottles. Not only do they make fabulous organic skincare products that really help the complexion glow, but in 2013 they will have been around for 30 years. That makes them somewhat established and qualified enough to bring us effective products with real research and knowledge behind them. The founder, Bernard Chevilliat, was originally a beekeeper and biologist fascinated by the relationship between bees, flowers, honey and beauty - which is why honey and floral notes are so prominent in their products. This year they're seeing a little bit of a re-design and revamp, bringing their bottles well and truly into 2013 to satisfy customers both new and old. The first products to get the makeover treatment are the Bouquet Floral cleansers and makeup remover, which provide gentle and effective cleansing without the tightness or tingling that many other astringent cleansers can bring. These almost feel like water but better, the texture and scent being so delicate that these floral potions melt into the skin to gently remove dirt and grime.


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3.10.13

LBQ Brand Focus #17: Bare Minerals

There's one brand that started the mineral makeup revolution years before it became mainstream. Bare Minerals was created to enhance your skin from the outside in, using the purest and most effective mineral ingredients available. They've harnessed the power and potential of minerals to nourish, energise and renew, producing makeup so pure that you literally could sleep in it without a blemish in sight. Revolutionising foundation application with their 'dip, tap, swirl' method, Bare Minerals have been bringing their light-as-air 100% mineral products to women across the world since 1995. Their makeup utilises naturally derived minerals to provide exceptional long-lasting coverage, breathable lightweight wear, rich pigmentation, creamy blendability and broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection. Best of all, all of their mineral formulas were developed to work with your skin, not against it, to help improve your complexion over time.
Bare Minerals

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Linda Evangelista Introduces Aura Loewe Fragrance & Her Top Beauty Tips

You can tell it's almost Christmas as there are perfume launches coming out of our ears. Everybody wants a piece of the fragrance action and supermodel Linda Evangelista is no exception. Linda is the face of the new Aura Loewe scent, a sophisticated and elegant Eau De Parfum with a 1920's inspired bottle. Brought to you from the quintessentially Spanish luxury brand Loewe, established in 1846, Aura Loewe is a floral, woody scent with fresh, spicy top notes highlighted by hints of Pink Pepper and Redcurrant; the strong floral heart of Rose Otto and Jasmine complements the woody Sandalwood, and leather base notes perfectly. This isn't a scent for the feign-hearted (and I can definitely imagine a sophisticated Spanish woman wearing this around the city of Barcelona,) but it's certainly unique and striking. Loewe say: "This new creation embodies the values of a company that witness today the birth of its new femininity. A femininity that boasts the most mysterious and addictive facet of art, inspired by the magnetism of the Muses and that 'something' that makes them unique. The muse: Linda Evangelista. Thanks to her magnetism, Linda clearly conveys the magic that surrounds the new Aura Loewe Eau de Parfum. No one knows what it is or what shape it has. It is a glance, a gesture, a smile. Pure magnetism. Either you have it or you don’t."

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2.10.13

My Summer Refresh Challenge with Collect Plus

How much unloved stuff have you got knocking around your home? How many pairs of barely worn shoes, how many dresses still with tags on and how many necklaces have never seen the light of day? I for one have a slight addiction to shopping and am rather an impulse shopper, meaning I often come home laden with bags and then forget what I've been frivolously splashing the cash on. Having recently moved flat and cleared out a lot of the tatt that had been cluttering up my peaceful sanctuary of a bedroom, I also discovered a lot of things that were simply too good for the charity shop but not quite right for me to keep and wear. It was perfect timing when Collect Plus, a simple to use courier service, got in touch and challenged me to sell my unwanted items on eBay and use the money raise to refresh my Summer wardrobe just in time for the new Autumn season. After rummaging around and listing everything I could find on eBay, the fun really began...

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COMPETITION: St Grape's Natural Indulgent Bathtime Treats

My bathroom is full to the brim with lotions, potions, scrubs, candles, bath soaks and pampering oils. It's my haven and where I go to relax after a long day, or simply rejuvinate after a heavy weekend - I couldn't do without a shelf bursting full of scented treats. St Grape are a brand that have indulgent bath time treats available in bucket-loads, as their extensve research has allowed them to develop a range of unique beauty products that combine ancient wisdom with cutting edge modern science. Their skincare products aim to cleanse, nurture, relax and heal, bringing the joy and luxury of a home spa to all at prices everyone can afford. All their products are developed using handmade or ancient processes using the highest level of pure source ingredients on the market, then eco-packaged to ensure the environment is respected as much as possible. The rich aromas are exotic and rich, but equally relaxing and calming, providing a sensory experience that leaves a lasting impression.
 

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1.10.13

At-Home Gel Manicure: NEW Sensationail by Nailene

Gel manicures have become as common practice as the white-tipped false nails from yesteryear, bringing the longevity of a false nail without the damaging side effects. Essentially gel manicures provide the strength of an acrylic finish in the format of a polish, lasting up to four weeks when applied and finished in a salon. However, with salon gel manicures setting you back upwards of £30 every visit, they get extremely expensive if you want to keep up the practice regularly. A few brands have launched at-home gel manicures, but none have really stood out and made me want to give them a whirl - until Sensationail by Nailene arrived on my doorstep looking all shiny and easy to use. The starter kit contains everything you need to get cracking, including nail primer, cleanser, base and top coat, nail colour, handy tools and the LED lamp to set the manicure. The process is pretty straightforward, even if the instructions initially look a little intimidating, and takes about fifteen minutes in total form beginning to end - much quicker than I anticipated. After filing and lightly buffing nails, a cleanser is used to remove any residue or oil, followed by a nail primer and base coat; the base coat is dried under the lamp for 30 seconds, before the first of two colour coats are applied. These are again set under the lamp for around a minute, with a layer of top coat being used to set the whole thing in place. Once all the layers have been applied, a quick blast of UV is all that's needed to set the manicure and leave you with perfectly polished digits; the cleanser is used to remove the moisture layer from the top and you're completely done.


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Taking Inspiration: Autumn Makeup

So Autumn is in full swing and I’m in the mood for a berry lip, nude eyes and some kick-ass eyeliner. Browsing the likes of Pinterest, We Heart It and Tumblr has me swooning over messy hair and bold lips. Whilst the messy hairdo can be achieved quite easily after washing my hair, the makeup isn’t quite as simple... So I headed off to ASOS (a daily occurrence) and stalked their beauty section. Now although I have a few too many products here to go through individually, I can’t contain my excitement buzzing around the star products. Here’s the lowdown...


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